From Pope Francis, then Cardinal Archbishop Bergoglio, letter to the Carmelitans concerning the Argentinian so-called “same sex marriage” legislation:
The identity of the family, and its survival, are in jeopardy here: father, mother, and children. The life of so many children who will be discriminated beforehand due to the lack of human maturity that God willed them to have with a father and a mother is in jeopardy. A clear rejection of the law of God, engraved in our hearts, is in jeopardy.I recall words of Saint Thérèse when she speaks of the infirmity of her childhood. She says that the envy of the Devil tried to extort her family after her older sister joined the Carmel. Here, the envy of the Devil, through which sin entered the world, is also present, and deceitfully intends to destroy the image of God: man and woman, who receive the mandate to grow, multiply, and conquer the earth. Let us not be naive: it is not a simple political struggle; it is an intention [which is] destructive of the plan of God. It is not a mere legislative project (this is a mere instrument), but rather a “move” of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.
Firstly, let me say that I have prayed, and will pray, sincerely that the new Holy Father may be a good Pope, able to at least start the process of real renewal (that is, well: restoration) we were all hoping for.
Secondly, please do not expect from me the usual “ohh this is the maaaan the Holy Ghoooost has given ussss” rubbish. If you think so, you are probably in the wrong blog.
Thirdly, allow me to say this is a shock and, very probably, not good news at all. But again, we do not know so much, and at times the Pope acts differently than the Cardinal used to do.
Like probably everyone of you, I am trying to understand; understand who Pope Francis is, and why he was made Pope. There will be a long time for reflections, so today I will list what I know up to now and, at some point, try to sleep. There will be no bottle of Brunello, for sure. Hopefully not too much grappa, either…
So, what do we know about Pope Francis?
He is known for his “social engagement”; which, coming from Argentina, is ominous indeed. Bad.
He used to be the Jesuit provincial in Argentina. Bad.
He was considered “conservative” (as far as Jesuits go). Good.(Jesuits are not all bad after all, though very many are; and I mean really, really bad; this is, when they aren’t closeted homos, or deny Christ).
He was then sent to lead a seminary. Can’t imagine the seminary produced many Jesuits, and many of them good Christians. Bad.
He has ties with the rather right-wing (but V II right-wing, not Mundabor right-wing) Comunione e Liberazione, aka ciellini. Now not what they used to be, but certainly no socialist sissies. Good.
The usual Allen describes him as “unwaveringly orthodox on matters of sexual morality, staunchly opposing abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception”. Unfortunately, coming from Allen this ain’t worth much, so we will have to wait and see. Half good.
He is certainly orthodox in matters of sexual perversion. Google and Wikipedia him, you’ll be surprised. Good. (The “gay mafia” within the Vatican might be facing very hard times).
He travels with the bus, cooks his meals alone, doesn’t want to live in the archbishop’s palace. He has simply no respect for his role and the role of the Church. Bad.
He has chosen the name Francis, which might be hinting at a wave of populism like the Church has never seen. Bad.
He has been accused of complicity or silence during the Argentinian dictatorship. Well, at least not a dyed-in-the-wool revolutionary. Good.
He has obviously instructed Cardinal Tauran to cut the multi-language rubbish of Benedict’s election (“Liebe Brueder und Schwestern; Dear Brothers and Sisters…”) before the announcement and go directly to the “Annuntio vobis…”. Good.
He has spoken of the Church as “presiding over the other churches”. No guts to say there is only one Church, and the usual V II wishy-washy words. Bad.
I had read days ago he has made a very good impression talking about the problems of the Curia. He is certainly seen as a good and effective administrator. Good.
He has been considered fit not by the absolute majority, but by two third of the Cardinals. Good (you see, I am clutching at straws now…).
He has given the impression of being extremely youthful for his 77 years (the way he talked, moved, gesticulated…). Good if he is good, bad if he is bad…
All in all, I have to say the new Holy Father exudes more than an unpleasant whiff of Vatican II. Bad.
Dulcis in fundo, if you search “Bergoglio” on this blog you will find a single blog post, but a very complimentary one. Once again, Bergoglio’s uncompromising stance on homosexuality is the trait which seems to be most evident. I am curious to see how the liberal press will salute a “friend of the poor” of this caliber…
Those who have voted for Bergoglio will have to answer to God before all too long for what they have done; as I assume most of them do believe in God and know they will have to answer to Him, there might be some hope. I want to think a Pope elected with a high majority (apparently higher than Ratzinger’s) must have given elements of reassurance also to rather conservative elements among the cardinals, and given guarantees to be a safe pair of hands to tackle the problems of the Church. The Cardinal must have known better than us what they are going to get, and they did like it.
As to what has happened, we will probably know more in due time, but what I imagine now is that it was clear from the start there were not one, but two strong candidates: one almost certainly Scola, the other possibly Scherer. These candidates must have been both strong and clearly destined to neutralise each other, because the quest for a credible outsider started, and was concluded, so soon.
Bergoglio was probably seen as a surrogate Italian (100% Italian blood); a surrogate conservative (ties with C&L; strong on homos); a surrogate liberal (a Jesuit, for crying out loud! And a “let’s travel with the bus”, “oh look how modest he is” type); not a man of the Curia; a man who speaks Italian and knows Italians; actually, one who is culturally one of them; a man who at 77 gives perhaps more guarantees – or so his electors thought – of toning down “social justice” bollocks; a man who, by his strong dislike for homos, can clean up the Vatican all right, and no risk of picking the wrong one in this.
I have not read anything about him being in favour of “collegiality”, but I mistrust whomever is defined as “pastoral”, which to me reads “heretical” and “accommodating”. Schoenborn, whose mother will be pleased, is always described as “pastoral”.
It would be interesting to know whether the Austro-German heretic Sturmtruppen pushed his candidature. By the Pontiff’s stance on homos, I very much doubt. He does look very un-German from here, at least for now.
And what about the SSPX? Frankly, I am relaxed about them. Pope Francis certainly does not seem a liturgical friend of theirs; but again in the end – and after all the posturing, the rhetoric, and the lies – neither was Ratzinger. If the new Pope wants to “play Mueller” on them, he’ll discover the SSPX men are tougher than Argentinian generals, and can destroy his credibility as a decent Pope. I doubt he would relish the experience, and I think he’ll be rather more prudent than opening a front he certainly doesn’t need.
As always, yours truly tries to be an optimist; which today is, admittedly, not entirely easy. Still, a vast number of Cardinals thought cardinal Bergoglio the right one. Unless they only did so in order for them to be left free to do whatever they please at home, there might be hope.
In the end, the much-vaunted Pope Benedict has given us Summorum Pontificum (good), a shameless charade on the SSPX (bad), an impressive series of wrong or disastrous episcopal appointments (bad), a rampaging homosexuality within the Vatican (bad), and in general the perfect portrait of roi fainéant (bad).
For this pontificate to be worse than the last one it will take some doing.
If you peruse the National Schismatic Reporter today – we all do it every now and then; it keeps you informed about Satan's latest moves – you'll find a piece about the conclave from a female called Maureen Fiedler. Her bio says a lot of fluffy things about her (radio work, “social justice” activism, “gender equality” activism, “peace” activism, PhD in Applied Idiocy (or “Government”; one of the two) and it also informs us that, lesbian or not, she is supposed to be nun (though from the photo you'd never imagine it, of course).
Today, sister reinvents Christianity for the exclusive benefit of her more or less enlightened readers from the Liberal madhouse.
We are, first, informed the Church is not democratic. This shocking revelation, of which she was possibly not aware when she tools her vows of fidelity to… social justice, pacifism and sexual perversion, clearly forces all of us to confront Jesus' shocking lack of democratic sensitivity. It would have been so easy to let the Five Thousand democratically elect their own representatives; but no, Jesus had to decide all by himself, appointing twelve leaders without even the shred of a public consultation. I mean, really? Who does He thinks he is, God?
The Chap (He can't have been God, after all; God is democratic; everyone knows that…) even gave a shameless display of atrocious sex discrimination, appointing – would you believe that – only males for the office! Not even a lesbian among them, let alone a real woman! Really, what was He thinking?!
It gets worse than this. I mean, we can understand Jesus might have wanted to pander to His Roman Masters, who in those times didn't “do” democracy anymore; he might have been afraid (we knew he was often afraid, particularly when he saw “sister's” female ancestors walking around) of the Jewish establishment and thus timorous to appoint lesbians (or even real women) to his Board Of Directresses… But seriously, not even a mention that His Church was supposed to have democratic elections, Wymyn quota and at least one good dozen LGBT members among the Cardinalettes? Seriously? What an amateur…
Thankfully, we are now in 2013, and Sister got it right. We are therefore going to eliminate the construction faults of the Catholic edifice by inserting democracy, pacifism, socialism and sexual perversion into the structure of an obsolete behemoth not even really improved by Vatican II.
Then, and only then, Catholicism will be really authentic, as shown by the champions of Catholic authenticity, those from whom “Sister” says we should learn.
To wit: The Protestants.
In a very interesting post on Father Z's blog, a seminarist describes how the conclave will be dealt with: the bell will ring, every activity will cease, and everyone will go in front of the TV to follow the event live. After that, all will go to pray Te Deum and Christus Vincit. Like Father Z, I was very pleasantly surprised particularly at the last detail. It is as if the Fifties had come back for a moment.
Perhaps the Fifties are coming back, though, in a more permanent way. Perhaps by the next Conclave seminarians singing Te Deum and Christus Vincit (the London Oratorians sing a wonderful rendition of the latter every year on the Feast of Christ the King; unfortunately I do not know the composer) will not even be considered worthy of a blog post. Perhaps thinking is already changing from the roots, just as we observe with pain that the mighty branches are ill and at risk of decay.
Thank God, the Church has self-healing energies helping her, time and again, to recover after every period of crisis. The beautiful image of the seminarians singing as if we were in the Fifties will accompany me when the white smoke appears, and in the hours spent digesting the historical announcement of the new Pontiff.
May God bless them and help them to become the kind of priests – and, one day, bishops and perhaps cardinals – we so desperately need in our besieged West.
Monsignor Scicluna has either given a sort of informal interview, or either imprudently spoken in front of a microphone he thought was switched off (there's a delightful episode of “Yes, Prime Minister” concerning such events; but Gordon Brown's “bigoted woman” incident also comes to mind), and has said thePontiff Emeritus chose to decapitate himself in order to get rid in one fell swoop of the many who also needed to be, erm, decapitated.
Monsignor's utterances are clearly evocative of glorious episodes of the past: the battle of Alesia, where Caesar's soldiers recurred to the unusual step of committing collective suicide, thus destroying Gaul rebels twenty times their number; or the battle of Lepanto, where the audacious decision to scuttle the Christian fleet inflicted a mortal blow to the Ottomans. The unforgettable self-decapitation of St. Pius the Tenth in order to uproot the terrible heresy of Modernism is, I am sure, also in every reader's mind.
In this case, though, there appears to be a small problem Monsignor Scicluna might not have, in his spontaneous utterances, adequately considered: the Pontiff Emeritus neglected to say who are those meant to be decapitated with him. This might have the unintended consequence that not one of them finds his head permanently separated from his neck, of course with the exception of the Pontiff. In fact, the audacious move leaves the Cardinals in the unusual position of not knowing who should be picked as executioner, with the concrete risk they pick one of those who should be executed instead. Boldly, the Pontiff Emeritus chose to get rid of himself, without getting rid of those he meant to have executed.
Truly, what a difference with Alesia, Lepanto, and St. Pius X!
The old mother of Cardinal Schoenborn (92 years old, God bless her…) has expressed her fear her son might be elected Pope, an event which would obviously cut the Cardinal's “family time”.
I am sure I express the opinion of all readers when I say we will fervently pray that she can continue to see her son as much as she likes.
Gianluigi Nuzzi, the journalist who obtained from Paolo Gabriele the Vatileaks material, asked to be credentialed to cover the Conclave. This would have meant great proximity to the event, access to press conferences, perhaps some working space of sort, etc.
Unsurprisingly, the request was refused.
It’s pretty much the same as if Hitler had asked to become a member of the World Jewish Congress.
The first smoke is black.
I wonder how many wannabe pundits will now say “it’s because of priest celibacy”, or “no agreement about sex abuse scandals”, or simply “divided Church cannot reach agreement”.
The United States need more than one year and a vast amount of money to elect a President in charge for only four years.
Keep calm, and pray on.
In a welcome bit of entertainment in these hours preceding a historic decision, some funny people have put in scene a micro-manifestation in front of the tailor in charge of the Papal habit (I think he makes three, so do not expect the garment to fit perfectly).
The improvised comedians chanted on the lines of “animals have a spirit too”; which, if I understand correctly, prevents said animals from being used to make fur (note to self: furs to be made only from spiritless material).
It is not reported how good the comedians felt, though I personally do not doubt they felt extremely holy. Unfortunately, the locals seemed to heartily disagree, complaining instead for the noise and disturbance with that typical Italian common sense so good at distinguishing a holy man from an hopeless, self-centred idiot.
I'd love to know how many of the funny guys believe Man has an immortal soul, and how many of those who do believe Man has, but animals haven't. What I do believe is that they are persuaded the Pope has failed to live up to their standards, and Christianity has a 2000 years tradition of “spirit genocide”. How many of them wore leather articles – rather than jute, cotton and wool exclusively) also remains to be seen.
Either way, we had our bit of fun.
I can't wait for the appeal to the Pope to cover the Vatican Gardens with solar panels.
Today marks the beginning of the Conclave, and the one or other Cardinal still manages, through friendly journalists, to get his name mentioned in the press, together with the one or other easy slogan making his name look so beautiful.
This morning, two of them have attracted my still sleepy attention: the Church is, says one Cardinal, supposed to bring “joy” to the world. If you ask another, the Church must “accompany” it.
This is the kind of Tofu Catholicism with which two generations of unfortunate faithful have now been fed. It tastes of nothing, but it is fashionable, and apparently considered healthier than the traditional fare.
Now, I have nothing against joy. If David Cameron were to be ousted today, I would experience a heavy dose of it. I also like Hope as a theological virtue, and try to practice it as good as I can. But when Catholicism – nay; the role itself of the Church – is reduced to “joy” something is going very, very wrong.
Tofu Catholicism does not confront one with the harsh realities of life, but rather sweeps the unpleasant news under the carpet or, if we want to remain by the culinary metaphor, neglects the possibility of death out of lack of vitamins. “Joy” becomes, for the clergy and the laity of the V II generation, an easy escapism which refuses to even consider the extremely harsh, but extremely real, threat of Hell. This Catholicism is like a Brothers Grimm's tale where the wolf is automatically neutralised, grandma is taken out of his belly amidst the applause of the crowds, and the happy end is simply taken for granted whilst everyone feels so good and holy. Whatever this is, this is not Catholicism. Let's hope we are spared a Pope of the “joyous” type.
The other easy slogan is the “accompanying”. How beautifully ambiguous! How wonderfully uncommitted! One can “accompany” pretty much anyone on this planet without doing the least for their salvation. One can “accompany” them through their divorcing and remarrying, their contracepting, their morning-after-pill taking, their “gay friends” boasting, without ever having to say one word about the grave dangers their walk leads into. Still, how good it sounds. Gentle. Caring. Full of understanding.
It is a clear indication of the V II clergyman that he tries not to mention Christ. If he does, he'll present a kindergarten version of Him, lest the sheep be scared. He'll rather “accompany” them, babbling tofu-tasting waffle about “joy”, and “accompanying” them all the way to hell.
Today marks the beginning of the Conclave.
O Lord, please give us a strong Pope.
Among the many names circulating in the press concerning the future Pope (it would be, in fact, interesting to know whether there are Cardinals to whom no newspaper has attributed any chance; even the old heretic Meisner got his mention, which now practically leaves only Hans Kueng out) one who offers some interesting reflection is Cardinal Piacenza.
Piacenza is clearly in favour of Summorum Pontificum, though he appears not to have celebrated the Traditional Mass after it. He has scandalised the Italian journalists with his “interpretations” of Vatican II, apparently consisting – or so they say – in keeping the name and killing the rest. He appears to have the forma mentis of a “doer” rather than of a dreamer, a writer, or a traveler.
It is no more possible for me than for everyone else – including the 5,000 Journalists now enjoying the incipient Roman spring – to gauge the real chances of the man. What I would like to point out is that even if we do not get him, we should certainly hope in one like him.
Our dream – and certainly mine – of a Pope in Sixtus V-style, who starts an extremely vigorous politics of reform as soon as he has finished with the Te Deum and walks away from the Sistine Chapel at the sound of Star Wars' “Imperial March” is simply not going to happen. There would never be a two-thirds majority for such a man. Such a man is, probably, not there in the first place.
What is, with God's help, feasible, is a Pope able and willing to lead the Church out of the Vatican II quagmire without causing the Church or the Cardinals – most of them compromised with that rubbish anyway – to lose face.
The “hawks” have certainly understood Vatican II must die, and the “doves” will never vote for one like Piacenza anyway; but if there is a big enough number of “mainstream” Cardinals able to quietly accept that Vatican II is beyond healing and should be put to sleep we might get such a Pope. The counter-Aggiornamento would then happen in a face-saving, but still effective way, with – just to make an example – a counter-Syllabus of errors like the one proposed by the great Athanasius Schneider – Cardinale subito! – and other measures effectively killing the aggiornamento at its very root without too much noise.
I do not know how many Piacenzas will be sitting in the Sistine Chapel tomorrow afternoon, nor how much support they can gather; but my suspicion is that there are many more of those than the liberal leaning Press would want us to believe; Cardinals, I mean, who have realised Vatican II is an unmitigated disaster, but do not want to be made responsible for its failure, and would gladly welcome a Pope able to remove the cancer without causing too much suffering for the patient.
I doubt Ouellet can be this kind of man, as he is consistently portrayed as a timid and gentle man in the mould of the Pontiff Emeritus, and therefore in all likelihood without the energy necessary for such a work of quiet but effective demolition. I think it more probable that people like Scola would be right for the job, as he is never depicted as “shy” and is a man not compromised from a strong connection with the Curia, a circumstance which would offer the Cardinals more guarantees concerning the other big issue of governance.
We will know, possibly, as early as tomorrow evening. After days of sudden alarm every time I read of impresentabili touted as possible Cardinals, I have now come to the more tranquil conclusion that Cardinals tend to be, by all their shortcomings, prudent people, very unlikely to pick a Meisner or Schoenborn or other shameful candidates for whom the two-third hurdle should well prove insuperable.
We will, I think, rather have one of these two: a gentle, kind, timid Pope, inoffensive for the Cardinals and local hierarchy and continuing with the collegial leading style, or a more assertive, muscular, decisive Pope able to tackle problems rather than merely look at them. In the first case they will have a business as usual scenario, with the bill coming in form of continued erosion of Christianity in the West. In the second they will have a reform scenario, but with all the dangers a strong Pope represents for the local hierarchies, particularly when they are inefficient, corrupt, or both.
We will soon know.
O Lord, please give us a strong Pope.
God forbid, this Conclave might – say some – be a long one. I already see the headline of the secular rubbish press, “Church divided” and the like. If we still don't have a new Pope come Wednesday evening, be assured the usual falsehoods will be spread again, and the new Pope will be described as a “lame duck” before even talking of sexual scandals…
Now, it might be good if you would remind your friends, colleagues and acquaintances that the duration of a Conclave is nothing to do with the strength or authority of the Papacy that follows it.
Pope Ratzinger was elected rather fast, but not even his most fanatical supporters would call his a strong Papacy. St. Pius X, on the other hand, was elected after a rather prolonged conclave, but not even his worst enemies would have denied his was a very strong Papacy.
The Press must write something, because newspapers must be sold every day. This morning I have read an article that managed to give chances to 22 Cardinals, as if its author were terrified at the thought of not having the name of the chosen one mentioned in the article; therefore, his idea of avoiding it was to make the article useless.
(As we are there, I'd like to know how big parties can stage elaborate election procedures going on for weeks before electing their boss, but a Pope must be found in a handful of ballots…).
We should, however, not be influenced by the press, and try to avoid as far as we can that the uninformed, the simple and the outright stupid parrot the rubbish they see on TV.
A long Conclave may well produce a strong Pope because a Pope is not like a party leader, who is weakened if he elected with a tiny majority or after a prolonged process. Ed Milliband made it with a very slim majority, and everyone knew he could be easily ousted and was basically on probation (still is, I'd say). The Pope must not win general elections, cannot be ousted, does not need the approval of the party basis and can, if he so wishes, even ignore internal opposition. Once he is Pope, he is in charge exactly in the same way whether it took three or eighty-tree ballots to elect him.
Please let us be fast in pointing out to this in the office etc. should the need arise. If we are going towards a long conclave, we should at least fight the prejudice with energy.
Rai Tre is universally considered the most leftist TV station in Italy.
Still, this beautiful documentary (English subtitles!) shows a respect and a reverence for the Church you could never ever find by the BBC, where it would be unthinkable to speak of the Church without the usual homosexual propaganda and liberal slandering.
Besides being very instructive, this documentary may give to the one or other of you a feeling of the “Italian way”, where even leftist broadcasters know how to do things properly.
Perhaps a useful hint to what will happen on – I think – Tuesday or Wednesday.
The words are as follows:
Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum:
Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum,
Dominum [First Name] Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem [Last Name],
Qui sibi nomen imposuit [Papal Name].
I announce to you a great joy:
We have a Pope!
The most eminent and most reverend Lord,
Lord [First Name] Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church [Last Name],
Who takes for himself the name of [Papal Name].
Here below the video of the happy day when Pope Pius XII was elected.
With the Conclave now looming, the apps dedicated to the event begin to pop out.
I have downloaded two free of charge. The first was from the Italian Famiglia Cristiana, a publication reeking of modernism and stinking mightily of V II rubbish. You open the app and there is an interview to a chap explaining to us that the reforms of V II have been “interrupted” (for modernists V II is something eternally becoming, apparently…) and it is now necessary to continue to work on collegiality. The app was immediately deleted.
The second app is simply called “Conclave”, from an organisation called “Verbum”.
It is in English (the other was in Italian), it has live videos, twitter portal, short bios of all Cardinals from the Vatican site and, most interesting, a section called “resources” with, no less, all the Conclaves from 1061 on with interactive links to the participants, leading to their biographies.
In addition to this, you find a “News” section with links to Catholics blog, some of them sound (for example the National Catholic Register) and some not (like the National Catholic Reporter) but which will allow you to gather information very rapidly.
If you will be traveling on Tuesday and Wednesday, this might be a good way to keep in touch.
I obviously do not know which smart phone or device you have, but a short search will help you to be prepared for the historic day with a specialised product accessing Catholic resources, particularly if you know you will not have access to a TV screen.
If any of my readers finds apps he would suggest to others, please drop a comment.
Everyone of us knows it very well: the secular troops hate the Church, because She reminds them of their own sinfulness and wickedness and they just hate it. They react by slandering Her, and obsessively harping about certain issues – say, child abuse – as if they were the Church’s speciality, or invention.
They also criticise, together with the Protestants, Her pomp and splendour; all her rites and ceremonies, all the gestures and symbols they cannot understand, but feel free to condemn.
Still, neither the secular not the heretics can escape the profound fascination the Church wields over them, both as an institution and in Her solemn ways.
A Pope resigns, and the world holds its breath. Atheist broadcasters like the BBC report about the matter every day, even when there is pretty much nothing to report. They criticise Her daily, of course; but there they are, all of them, like a boy unable to detach himself from the gaming console.
And there you have it all, every day, on press and Internet and TV. The pomp, the splendour, the men in red, the history, the Swiss Guards, the rituals and traditions, even the chimney! Nothing escapes the curious gaze of the “critical” observers, caught in the bann of a greater Truth they don’t want to recognise, but they all know is there.
Everyone knows something very, very special is happening; everyone understands on occasions like this – though they don’t say so explicitly – how authentically unique the Church is. They soak everything in, the Cardinals and the Swiss Guards, the history, the suspense, the aura of superior self-assuredness, the clear feeling this is an institution that has buried Empires, and will be there when the United States are no more than a short mention in the history books. This, too, they do not say; but sure as hell they feel it, as do their viewers and readers.
It is an irony of life that Catholics aren’t fascinated in the least by Protestant ceremonies, or attracted by their institutions. Catholics often don’t even know the difference between a Baptist and a Methodist, because proddie sects are simply irrelevant to them; nor are they interested in the least when some strange Lutheran grouping elects their strange Lutheran leaders. But the world will hold its breath on Tuesday, and be assured even the cameras of the BBC will be pointed on the chimney, and everyone will try too see if the smoke is white (it often takes a while, to get the smoke white), until they hear the bells storming; then they will know, they will feel that history is in the making…
And they will be there, the journalists as well as the viewers. Atheists, agnostics, Proddies, all of them. Like boys at the gaming console.
This, my friends, is just another small token of the power of the Church.
We have now been informed the Conclave will begin on Tuesday.
This is after the last Cardinal reached Rome yesterday afternoon, Thursday.
Again, it seems to me the real conclave is already going on, but without the seclusion, and what will take place on Tuesday will only be a formality.
Perhaps they should call it the Sinclave, from sine clave?
The Conclave is now upon us, and yours truly is becoming increasingly more aware of the historic days we are living.
With Christianity under a massive attack all over the West, the next days can decide the fate of a generation of Western Catholics. The choice of a (relatively) young but ineffective Pontiff can seal the fate of Catholicism as we know it in the once civilised West, with the continued deterioration of Catholic presence (old people die, and young people don't care) and Catholics, in time, requested to accept the unacceptable (say, “marry” homos in Catholic Churches) or face church closures, marginalisation and, in time, persecution.
A “young” but strong Pope could, in turn, be a game-changer for Christians (not only Catholics) the world over. A long and strong Papacy would not only change the public perception of the Pope from good uncle to real shepherd (with the rod and the staff; and using both, even when it hurts), but he would have the time to completely change the Church landscape at the front, with the proper cardinals, bishops, and teachers in charge everywhere.
Today,the grip of the Church on Catholics is strong enough to be a huge factor in every Western democracy, if adequately employed. Still it's not too late. But this will not go on forever, and in twenty or twenty-five years' time the leverage could have reduced almost to insignificance.
If we look at Europe, we can easily say the Church is the last Christian man standing. Whilst in the United States a robust Evangelical movement will take care Christians continue to be feared by most secular politicians, no Western European Country could see the erosion of Catholic power without the almost annihilation of its Christian heritage and culture. Look at Germany, The Netherlands, Britain to see how often Christianity has become an empty word, with no content other than a vague sense of inclusiveness and acceptance of every abomination. Look at Spain and France to see how fast the decline can be. Look at Italy to see how the unthinkable can become part of of the electoral platform of the biggest coalition in half a generation.
These are decisive days, then for us Western Europeans this might be the last chance. One day we might, with persecution clearly approaching, remember these as the last days of real hope before the fatal election of just another week Pope, happy to look on whilst Rome burns. Or, if our prayers are answered, we might remember them as the last day of uncertainty and apprehension before the turning of the tide.
I am old enough to remember the days leading to, and following the election of, Ronald Reagan. The contrast between Jimmy Carter and him could not have been greater. You knew, you felt a true epochal change was upon us, and the dance about to begin would be remembered for a long time to come.
More than thirty years later, a new Jimmy Carter – certainly far preferable in his thinking, but just as impotent in his actions – has thankfully decided to step aside. We need another Ronald Reagan, or someone as similar to him as The Lord might decide to give us.
Among the Papabili, I cannot see one Ronald Reagan around (with the possible exception of Cardinal Burke, whose chances I consider very slim), and our best shot would be one who has profiled himself as moderate and acceptable to the JPII/BXVI Cardinals, but ready to put on the armour when called to be at the top. I must say that the more I read about the papabili, the more I realise there is only one with the best blend of knowledge of the Curia, pugnacious character, and ability to win allies and be considered acceptable by two thirds of the Cardinals.
You know who he is.
O Lord, please give us a strong Pope.
Good morning, dearest ones. I am Cardinal Baddy, but you can simply call me “baddy”. I am very modern and in touch with the times, you know…
Let me tell you first that I am a bad cardinal. My priests do what they please, some are homosexual, some have a mistress, many don’t believe in God, Mass is generally an irreverent mess. But I am very popular with the press, and a darling among the rich and powerful; I lead a pampered, privileged life, so why should I care; I don’t believe in God anyway…
I will soon be locked in the Sistine Chapel, so before I do let me tell you what my plans are.
My buddies and I want, at all costs, avoid a Pope really intentioned to be Pope. One of those chaps believing they can tell us what to do, and the like. This would be disastrous. Not only would it mean the end of my tranquil life, but it could even mean the end of my privileges. If the new chap started to look at the state of my archdiocese, I could end up as Nuncio in some country plagued by flies in no time! I have also, ahem, covered for one or two of my buddies who had a weakness for young boys; a friend in need, and all that. In retrospect, this was not a good move. It must never come out.
No, what my friends and I (plenty of us in the Conclave) need is someone who leaves us alone, and allows the party to go on undisturbed. A weak, harmless, peaceful guy, who does not even understand what is going on. We won’t say it openly, of course. We will push for a “pastoral” man, a man able to “connect”, and bring to the world the “gentleness” of the Church. In short, a puppet.
We would love to have one from the Third World; erm, excuse me: a developing country, then they are the most usable puppets. South America doesn’t exactly fit, but will do admirably anyway. Either way, we’d love some socialism and some anti-capitalist rhetoric. Very popular, keeps you at peace with populist governments and it is just the ticket at my cocktail parties.
Ideally, he should be a very prayerful man. Gentle, kind. The one the newspapers would love to have on the first page. Also, no managerial experience, and a history of letting other people do what they want. We need a poster boy, not a leader.
When we have persuaded the planet the Church has chosen a holy man of God, we will be able to get to work seriously. Our men in the Vatican will have him trained in no time, because not knowing the machinery of the Vatican – or any machinery, comes to that – he will follow whatever they “suggest” with great docility. They will stress with him how complex and multi-faceted the Church is; the need to leave great autonomy to the local bishops; the importance and modernity of a non-authoritative style; the necessity to be “inclusive”.
We will, in the meantime, continue to arrange matters our own way. We will allude to “reforms” whenever we think we need a popularity boost; we will talk endlessly of women, peace, and social justice; we’ll give the lapsed, contracepting, divorcing, remarrying, buggering Catholics to understand we’d love to be on their side, but alas, the duties of the office… They can continue to pay, though, because they know our hearts are on their side…
We will also push for a hard stance towards traditionalists, particularly the SSPX, because they are of the greatest danger to us. We’ll try to get rid of Summorum Pontificum if we can, or continue to ignore it if we must, then these conservatives will be our undoing if we allow them to continue to grow undisturbed.
So, I hope I have explained my objective: a weak, popular, prayerful man; harmless with us, but popular with the masses; not too smart, or he will see through our little game; clueless, and ready to be guided by our men in all important matters; from a far away and poor country, so we can play the populist card; flexible with words, so we can arrange the needs of the spenders without becoming openly heretical.
Yes, the Church in the West will continue to shrink; but frankly, who cares? Do I believe in God, that I should be worried about the next centuries? When I’m gone, I’m gone, but as long as I am here I want to make the most of it. If must be, I’ll close some churches, then some more. I’ll die a Cardinal Archbishop anyway.
Awfully sorry now, I must make the last preparations.
Wish us good luck.
You won’t be surprised to know that I don’t like the SNAP.
The so-called “Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests” (most of the victims are obviously killed, you know; hence “survivors”…) pretends to provide “support” for the victims of abuse by (mostly: homosexuals like this one) pedophile priests, but in fact promote the usual disgusting anti-Catholic, leftist, “liberal Catholics, dissenting, contraceptive, satanic agenda.
Now, the SNAP would obviously not let the Conclave go without making asses of themselves. This time, they have done it in two press releases: with the first they have informed us of which twelve Cardinals they truly do not want to see as Pope (Scola, Ouellet, and Turkson among them). With the second, they have informed us of which candidates they consider their favourites…
No wait! these people truly hate the Church! So they have called them “least worst”, as the idea of someone being a “good” candidate according to their standards is truly beyond the pale.
This time, I will give you the name: they are two Cardinals, Tagle** and Schoenborn, and one Archbishop, Martin of Dublin. I personally do not think Schoenborn has any chance (unless the Cardinal want a revolt of heretic priests on a planetary scale), Tagle I never liked and has even less chances, and Steve Martin is probably more likely to be elected than Diarmuid Martin.
Notice the following, though:
1) Three Cardinals among 115 were, evidently, not to be found.
2) SNAP think the world revolves around their gripe: they decide those who want and do not want to see as Pope merely based on their own whining attitude, with utter disregard of the countless other qualities a Pope should have, and challenges he will have to face. Me, Myself and I. The True Obama Spirit.
3) They think a Pope can only be bad. No escape from that. If they get their own dream candidate among the available ones (including all archbishops, it appears), then it will only be “least worst”. Gosh, that’s… that’s… insensitive!
SNAP might well be disappointed, as between them Scola and Ouellet account for a good percentage of the probabilities. I actually suspect our whining heroes have inserted in their black list a couple of the favourites, so they can cry very loud and get further publicity if one of them is elected.
If Ouellet or Scola make it, this will be good for some fun…
* stupid comments on the lines of “you condone abuses by priests” will be deleted faster than their authors can say “I am an idiot”.
** Errata Corrige: Tagle, not Ranjith. My apologies, post written several hours after reading the article and I got confused after answering a comment about Ranjith.
I am seriously beginning to think liberal journalist must pass an idiocy exam before being considered for the job, so that they match the IQ of their readers.
The “Washington Post” informs us there are fears Pope Emeritus Benedict might, after the election of the new Pope, influence his successor. Even the ghost of rivalries and divided loyalties is mentioned, with the excuse the Vatican excludes it. The circumstance Bishop Gaenswein will “work for both” is also found a rather disquieting element.
The Washington Post therefore instructs his readers about the following:
1) The Pope has resigned in order to influence his successor. His objective is, of course, that the new Pope does what he would be doing. That he would be doing If he were Pope, that is…. Aaarrgghhh!!!
2) It is clear to everyone with some perception now (though not to the WaPo readers, obviously) that the Pope resigned because he felt he could not be the Pope whom the Church now needs. After which, he would proceed to exert on his successor a strength of character and steely determination he never had in all his previous years. As they say, life begins at 86…
3) Catholics being a bunch of anarchists always ready to follow whomever wears a white tunic, there is a clear danger of division: cue the armoured troops of the “Benedictites”, attacking the Vatican at the cry “Papacy or death”. I can picture the former Pontiff surveying the troops, proudly riding his white purebread, his armour glittering in the Roman sun…
4) The new Pope can’t decide who his aides will be. Gaenswein is on the menu, and Gaenswein will have to be. The same as with a Mother-in-law, you get the whole package and can’t decide to deselect this or that from the, erm, list of standard equipment.
5) Gaenswein is a very powerful man. You get Gaenswein (which you must; see point 4) and you’re screwed. Pope Emeritus and he himself will cast a long shadow over your papacy. There’s no escape. You certainly can’t have these things as you like. Who do you think you are, the Pope?!
Seriously, those who like the WaPo should have their IQ measured. Wait…
On reflection, perhaps better not…
I know men are fallible and prone to all the mistakes and sins caused by their fallen nature, but I always thought the Church has disposed a series of measures meant to minimise, in the most varied circumstances, the effect of our impulses on our decisions.
One beautiful example of this is the Conclave. Isolation. Times for prayer. Total immersion in the task at hand. A kind of spiritual retreat aimed at electing a Pope.
Exactly this seems now what at least some Cardinals want to avoid, with the recent calls for postponement of the Conclave because no strong candidate has allegedly emerged from the “preparatory talks”. This means, in plain English, that the Conclave should only be little more than a formality, and the real game already decided at the moment of the extra omnes.
I allow myself to disagree. Exactly why we all know how fallible human nature is, the Cardinals should insist that the decision process takes place, to as big an extent as possible, during and not before the Conclave. I can't see why even the “meet and great” should not take place there.
Of course, this would mean that Conclaves go on for longer; but I fail to see the difference with preliminary talks going on for longer.
Also, please consider Cardinals and Archbishops aren't indispensable. Past Conclaves weren't exactly short, and whenever an Archbishop or Curial Cardinal dies suddenly, the structure he leads is certainly not paralysed.
“Ahh, but the Press, the Press!” – you might say – “They expect a fast decision! Otherwise the Church will give the impression of being divided!”.
Seriously: the Press will always slander the Church whenever they want to, and it is fitting for every Catholic to be aware a Pope isn't elected by angels, either. Let the Press write what they want, and the Church do what is good for Her.
I personally can only see with worry a climate in which the pre-conclave is becoming the real conclave, and the actual conclave little more than an investiture ceremony. If you ask me, the Conclave should start sooner rather than later and he who hasn't time for it should not have any need for a red hat, either. If I were a Cardinal I would vastly prefer to get to know my colleagues in a spiritual and prayerful environment during the course of some weeks, than having this kind of primaries – at the very least – that are taking place now.
I have always been taught that you see a good leader when you know he could be run over by a bus and his structure would continue to run as a well-oiled mechanism at least for the ordinary administration, and that the value of a leader is in his ability to take decisions, not in his being a micro-controller and head bean counter. I can't see why a conclave should be an exception.
I hope the next Pope is elected in a more prayerful manner, with a strong conclave and with a press embargo from the start.
I have reported about the primadonnas hoping for notoriety or useful PR work before the conclave, but it is fair to say I had missed the one who truly gets the biscuit: Cardinal Odilo Scherer of Brazil.
The good Cardinal is so concerned with “pastoral” work that he has sent out his PR men to ask the Brazilian press to put him in the best possible light, whilst the same men denied he felt he was a candidate.
I tend to despise stupidity even more than corruption; particularly concerning people in position of high responsibility and power, who will be exposed to temptations but are supposed to be at least smart.
This does not seem to be the case of the Cardinal, clearly thinking what the Brazilian press writes in the days leading to the Conclave has a bearing on who is elected.
I can now imagine an embarrassed Cardinal assuring his red-hatted colleagues it was all not his initiative; assuredly not!
And so goes another candidature; never a strong one, certainly the wrong one.
Notice all the strong men have avoided giving interviews. All but Ouellet, who might well regret it.